In the last century, Britain has developed into a multicultural country that is home to different faiths, culture and beliefs, each of which is adding to British lifestyle. As these cultures settle into the UK, thoughts on death are beginning to develop.
The traditional British funeral of a burial or cremation at a church with a hearse progression and black attire is becoming less favourable. Atheists, Buddhists, Indians, Islams and many other religions don’t want to be buried in a church, instead, they want a burial that reflects their faith and their ideologies.
Using these informationm Damsons Future Planning began researching into the past and present mourning and just how much has actually changed.
A traditional funeral is becoming dated and other options are growing in popularity. For instance, the last five years has seen an increase in woodland burials by 9% and sea and home burials by 3%.
What is it about multicultural Britain that’s changing our mentality on death?
According to The World Counts, 2.3 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide has been added to the Earth in the last 200 years, half of which was added in the last 35 years. As pollution continues to rise campaigns to save the Planet Earth are even affecting funeral affairs.
In Britain over 74% choose to be cremated however this is one of the most damaging processes to the environment. However, as the Earth’s resources deplete Eco-friendly funerals have developed following the demands of one, a fifth of Brits alone.
In a bid to reduce pollution from cremation scientists have developed Resomation which uses alkaline hydrolysis to chemically break down the body. This process reduces emissions by up to 35%. Resomation in comparison to cremation is significantly cheaper at £650. However, this price doesn’t incur other funeral costs but it is a process that’s highly effective at reducing carbon emissions.
Alongside Eco-friendly cremations (Resomation) there have been developments in burials. Woodland burials have become popular as they maintain and legally preserve large acres of land. The Woodland Burial Trust preserve multiple woodland areas across Britain, offering plots from £700.
Other futuristic burials or cremations involve organic pods and reef balls both processes which aim to use the body’s nutrients for the Earths benefit.
Eternal Reefs was set up in a bid to save marine life and has become popular with fisherman, sailors, environmentalists, military veterans and divers. They specialise in turning a person’s ashes into artificial coral which offers support to dying marine life. Whilst sounding amazing the process is neither cheap nor wholly Eco-friendly. Cremation is still required and the transformation into a Reef Ball costs £3,000-£5,000.
The other option, the organic pod uses the body’s nutrients to feed the environment and enables the growth of trees. Effectively, despite being dead your body can blossom into a living organism. While not available just yet 10% of Brits have stated they would choose the pod for a more environmentally friendly funeral.
The Digital Age
Social media has digitalised death. Attitudes towards death have evolved as the digital age grows. Nowadays people are sharing funeral ideas via Pinterest, they are expressing sympathies online and conveying funeral information via email or social media.
Newspaper obituaries are becoming obsolete, millennials in particular rarely purchase newspapers let alone check the obituary section. Instead, people are now taking to texting, calling, emailing or conveying information via social media.
Even condolence cards are becoming a thing of the past with many choosing to express their sympathies via social media. As many as 22% of 20–39-year-old’s are comfortable at just expressing their condolences online.
It’s not just the process of conversing with others that’s changed, how we act has become more robotic. The term ‘funeral selfie’ was coined following the surge of people snapping pics at funerals. Disturbingly 48% of millennials have admitted to this and even more disturbing is people’s wishes to live stream their funeral. Over 4% of Brits said they would consider live streaming their funeral on social media.
Although shocking and a somewhat robotic mannerism, research undertaken by the International Journal of Communication found that such practices are done to convey and signal emotional circumstances to others.
It’s an interesting comparison but one that states just how our mentality has developed in the digital age. Sadly as technology grows our mentality on death and how we emotionally link with others has become more digital. It’s just another factor that has resulted in a diversion from traditions of both funerals and mourning itself.
In the last century, lifestyles have unimaginably changed. Life has become easier and more enjoyable and with that in mind, people want a funeral that celebrates their life. Over 33% of Brits want music, readings or hobbies incorporated into their funeral.
Celebrations have even extended to nights out with a quarter of Brits encouraging their loved ones to go out drinking after their funeral. Not only do people want a funeral that celebrates their life they want one that showcases their personality. Funerals are now incorporating people’s passions and interests to make their farewell both special and memorable.
There has been a rise in tailored funerals which have incorporated all manner of interests such as Marvel, Disney and even festival styled funerals.
In New Orleans, people lead jazz processions throughout the streets playing loud and exuberant music for all to get involved in. It’s a process of celebrating life rather than mourning a persons death.
Despite the death of a loved one being one of the most painful experiences we endure people who planned or attended personalised and celebratory funerals found solace in the unique and caring farewell.
In the last two decades, religion in Britain has diversified, according to Vexen, there are more than 170 faiths in the UK.
As different faiths are stitched into British society the mentality surrounding death continues to evolve. Different faiths respond to death with its own tradition.
For example, Hindu’s and Sikhs don’t view death as a goodbye but as a ‘see you soon’ soiree. Both religions believe in reincarnation of the soul and while the body is gone the soul is still very much alive. The prospect of meeting the person again is likely, a mentality that encourages a more celebratory funeral.
As British society evolves and becomes home to different cultures, lifestyles and religions, the traditions of death develop and change.
Multicultural Britain has certainly played a huge factor in challenging and inevitably developing funeral choices and ideologies. Whether it be technology, religion or the conservation of the planet each has played its part in evolving the British mentality.
Originally Posted on Thrive Global